Saturday was a day that pretty much lived up to the hype as far as we were concerned in the Tuley’s Takes home office.
It started early with a win on the Panthers-Devils First-Period Over (no matter if you went Over 1.5, Over 2 or Over 2.5) as the Devils scored twice in the first 3:42 of the game and the Panther responded with a goal just over 9 minutes into the opening period. That’s as easy as it gets.
We spent most of the day on Saturday cleaning and swimming in the family pool while following a busy horse racing schedule, highlighted by the Kentucky Derby prep races, the Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby. I lost nearly all my bets (my friend Ed Sehon provided 3 winners in our “Team Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes” column at VSiN.com/horses, so it was fun to cheer for him), but that was OK as we took some shots.
The first Final Four game didn’t go too well as Kansas jumped out to a 10-0 lead over my play on Villanova and never looked back. I made it clear all week that my much preferred play in the Final Four was North Carolina + 4.5 and it was a great game vs. Duke with the Tar Heels only failing to cover for a few minutes but otherwise clearly being the right side as they ended up pulling the outright upset and ending Mike Kryzewski’s coaching career.
That improved our Best Bet record to 33-15-1 ATS (68.8 percent) the past 49 days (7 weeks) starting with the Bengals + 4.5 in the Super Bowl.
Oh, in addition to the easy win on the Panthers-Devils 1P Over, I also mentioned a play for chalk bettors with the Hurricanes -150 as the Wild were in an anti-swagger spot. However, the Wild won 3-1, so I’m glad I passed thanks to my dog-or-pass philosophy. I still had some readers thank me for including more plays, but I think it’s important to point out that passing is still a valid decision (especially when it comes to chalk).
CBB: North Carolina, a No. 8 seed, beat No. 2 Duke 81-77 in the Final Four nightcap to earn a spot vs. Kansas in Monday's NCAA tournament title game while also ending Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching career. The Tar Heels did it after closing as 4-point underdogs and + 180 on the money line. The game went Over the betting total of 154 points. Earlier, Kansas, the last remaining No. 1 seed, went wire-to-wire in an 81-65 win vs. No. 2 Villanova in the first Final Four game as the Jayhawks also covered as 4-point favorites. That game also went Over its total of 133 points.
More CBB: Faves/dogs split 1-1 SU and ATS in the Final Four while Overs went 2-0 (note: that was after Unders were 11-1 in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight). Faves lead 40-21 SU overall in the NCAA tournament with 1 game closing pick-'em (Duke-Texas Tech in the Sweet 16), but dogs still lead 34-27 ATS (55.7 percent). Unders still lead 34-28 (54.8 percent) overall.
Even more CBB: Kansas opened a consensus -4 vs. North Carolina in Monday's NCAA tournament title game with a low of -3.5 at William Hill, Station Casinos and Treasure Island but a high of -4.5 at BetMGM. The Over/Under wavered between 153 and 153.5.
NBA: Underdogs went 3-2 ATS on Saturday with upsets by the Cavaliers (+ 2 in 119-101 win at Knicks), Hawks (+ 2 in 122-115 win vs. Nets) and Warriors (+ 2.5 in 111-107 win vs. Jazz). The 76ers (-5.5 in 144-114 rout vs. Hornets) and Heat (-2.5 in 127-109 win at Bulls) covered as faves. Unders went 3-2.
Faves went 5-4, highlighted by the Panthers (-200) rallying from a 6-2 deficit to beat the Devils 7-6 in OT. The upsets were by the Canadiens (+ 260 in 5-4 win at Lightning), Wild (+ 135 in 3-1 win at Hurricanes), Blues (+ 215 in 6-4 win at Flames) and Kings (+ 110 in 3-2 win at Jets). Overs went 6-3.
Thunder + 14.5 vs. Suns: A week ago Saturday, I had some readers question my sanity with backing the Thunder against the Nuggets even though I explained that the Nuggets were in an anti-swagger spot after having a long winning streak snapped. This is the same type of play as the Suns had their 9-game winning streak snapped on Friday night, so we fade them here. And just like a wrote vs. the Nuggets, we don’t need the Thunder to win but just stay within the huge spread (the Nuggets closed -17 at most books, so we also usually get line value in these spots with the public backing the “much better” team and expecting them to bounce back from the loss).
Pistons + 2.5 at Pacers:
The Pistons are on a 16-0-2 ATS run as underdogs, so we probably won’t be able to pass up this dog on Sunday.
Panthers-Sabres First-Period Over 1.5:
For those following along on these (and I’m hearing from more of you all the time), this is the top play on Sunday, though shop around for the best lines. Most books were dealing Over 2 overnight, though Resorts World had Over 1.5 -175 here in Vegas while DraftKings had Over -1.5 -155 in their states.
Ducks + 175 vs. Oilers:
As I wrote the other day, I prefer my swagger and anti-swagger plays in the ATS sports like football and basketball, where we’re not asking bad teams to pull outright upsets, so take this play with a grain of salt. However, the Ducks just snapped an 11-game losing streak and I like them to carry that momentum at a nice juicy price (compared to laying the juice in yesterday’s play).
Good luck today (and every day!).